The Kansas City Chiefs are one of the hottest teams in the NFL after beating the Oakland Raiders and taking first place in the AFC West, and they could be even better down the stretch. That’s because there is a “very realistic” chance that the Chiefs will get running back Jamaal Charles back in time for the playoffs, according to ESPN.
Charles underwent surgery to clean up the meniscus in both his knees and has missed most of the season. He is eligible to return to action in Week 17, and with the Chiefs in the running for a first-round playoff bye, that’s another week Charles would have to get healthy.
The Chiefs are 10-3 and have won three in a row, including the win over the Raiders in their last outing. Kansas City has beaten Oakland, also one of the top teams in the league this year, both times they have played this season.
Charles tore his ACL in his right knee in October 2015. He played in three games this season in a limited role before his knees became an even bigger problem and the Chiefs had to place him on injured reserve on Nov. 1.
At 29 years old and not having played a full 16-game regular season since 2012, it’s unclear where Charles goes from here. He clearly cannot stay healthy long-term, but if his legs can be just fresh enough for a playoff run while the Chiefs are playing some of their best football, then his return could be coming at the perfect time. At his best, Charles is one of the most versatile, effective backs in the league rushing and catching the football.
Spencer Ware is the lead back for the Chiefs at this point. He has 183 carries for 790 yards (4.3 yards per carry) and three touchdowns on the ground. He’s run the ball well, but nothing close to Charles when he’s at his best.